One of the best things about a drag show is that, by definition, it's totally limitless - there's bending of genders, there's redefining of genres and there's no topic off the table.
Even knowing all this, the opening night of 'Briefs: Dirty Laundry' power-washed away any expectations I had and left my head spinning faster than a tumble dryer on high. This is not 'just' a drag show.
The staging, costumes and the fierceness was flawless, but what sets Dirty Laundry apart the most is the sheer athleticism and skill of the performers.
I'm talking Olympian-level shit here. I'm talking Greek gods and goddesses with gifts beyond human measure. I'm talking 'Hey, Cirque du Soleil…honestly? Take notes, babe'.
There was sword-swallowing, fire hula-hooping, aerial routines, juggling and choreography that would leave Beyoncé shooketh.
Also, it's f*king funny. Fez Faanana, Briefs' director, founder and MC of the show, will have you absolutely screeching with laughter, while most of the other performers rely on incredible comic timing, physicality and lip-synching to bring the funny.
If you're someone who gets stressed about the possibility of audience participation (can't relate, I'm a Leo, get me on stage stat) - let me ease your mind: It's all very consensual.
You can air your dirty laundry by writing a secret on a piece of paper before the show - some of the bangers read out on opening night included: “I saw my step dad on grindr” and "my friend has abnormally small kneecaps and I'm embarrassed for her”.
Or if that doesn't tickle you, you can grab a raffle ticket that'll get you a bag of loot and your 15 mins of fame if you win.
The Briefs Factory takes the opportunity to use the winning audience member as a part of the show intended to "increase artistic merit". Apparently, the lack of said merit is one of the reasons the theatre company is frequently rejected for funding over in Aus. This is obvi, bullshit, and the crowd agreed, erupting into boos at the revelation.
Meanwhile, winning ticket E011, wearing her "sensible heels", as the MC shadily pointed out, became part of a piss-take interpretive dance performance. This wanky, white-shirted routine is presumably more along the lines of what the Australian arts council is looking for, and proves that the Briefs collective can do it all.
The participating audience member is so good we speculate the raffle draw must have been rigged, but either way it's still a stunningly-manicured middle finger to the haters.
But Briefs isn't angry though, or bitter about the past few years of pandemic-induced lockdowns in which the show was created. It's a sexy, semi nude, loved-up evening of pure joy and a lot of heart.
As I'm sure you can tell, I could go ON and on. But I reckon you should just go and see it - it's on until December 9th at Auckland's Q Theatre.